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Apple Plans To Add 'Hundreds' Of Jobs In The Boston Area

Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks about the Apple iPhone XS at the Steve Jobs Theater during an event to announce new Apple products Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018, in Cupertino, Calif. (Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP)MoreCloseclosemore
Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks about the Apple iPhone XS at the Steve Jobs Theater during an event to announce new Apple products Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018, in Cupertino, Calif. (Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP)

Apple said Thursday that it plans to add "hundreds" of jobs in the Boston area over the next three years as part of a nationwide expansion, but offered few details about its growth ambitions.

"We won’t have anything more beyond what’s in the [press] release today," an Apple spokesman said.

News of the tech giant's local hiring goal was buried in an announcement about a $1 billion campus in Austin that could employ as many as 15,000 people. The Boston area was listed among sites for smaller expansions. Others included Seattle, San Diego, New York, Pittsburgh, Portland, Oregon; Boulder, Colorado; and Cupertino, California.

Apple already leases office space in the Cambridge Innovation Center, where a team works on the company's Siri speech-recognition software. There are three job openings in the Cambridge office now.

CIC founder Tim Rowe said he is "thrilled" by Apple's growth plan but did not say whether the company would lease more space in his building.

"If we did know the answer, we couldn't tell you," he said.

Apple had been searching since January for a place to build another large-scale campus — much as Amazon prospected for a second headquarters, though with far less fanfare. A March analysis by Bloomberg and Moody's Analytics pegged Massachusetts as one of the best options for Apple.

But Apple chose Austin, a city also eyed by Amazon. The Boston area was a finalist for Amazon's HQ2, but the company ultimately split its pick between Long Island City and Crystal City, Virginia.

Some of Amazon's existing local workforce is devoted to Siri's top rival, Alexa. MIT senior research scientist James Glass said the Boston area is a hub of voice recognition.

"Boston has a long history in speech technology," said Glass, who leads the spoken language systems group in MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. "These companies: Apple, Amazon — it's natural they would have some presence in this part of the country."

Glass pointed to BBN Technologies, acquired by Raytheon in 2009, as an early example of a local speech technology firm. Dragon, now owned by Nuance, is another.

Apple used voice recognition technology developed by Burlington-based Nuance to create Siri.

Related:

Callum Borchers Twitter Reporter
Callum covers the Greater Boston business community for Bostonomix.

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